Tuesday, December 24, 2013

White Christmas

What a great week!  This has definitely been one of the hardest and most amazing weeks of my life.
Before I go any farther, I just want to point out that through the whole week Hiedi has been solid.  She hasn't wavered about anything.  However, everything else was hard.
Last week, we thought we had the baptism all arranged.  Hector had been asked to baptize Hiedi.  Roxana had been asked to give the talk on the Holy Ghost.  Samantha had been asked to give the talk on Baptism.  We had asked Roxana to make a cake for Hiedi for after her baptism (to celebrate her birthday).  Everyone committed to do their part. 
We had communicated with our Ward Mission Leader about all of the details.  He agreed to call Presidente Wojnowski and confirm everything and to reserve the building and make programs.
Well, Hector's dad passed away, so they are in California for the funeral.  Samantha is there too.  We asked several members to give talks, none of them were going to make it to the baptism.
Finally one member agreed to give the talk on the Holy Ghost.  We were still looking for someone to give a talk on Baptism.  We try calling the Young Women's President and everybody else we know.  No one.  So we decide that I will give the talk on Baptism.
Hiedi asked that Elder Shields would baptize her.  Thankfully missionaries are reliable, so we didn't have to worry about that.
We find a less-active Beehive in the Spanish branch.  She agreed to give the closing prayer. 
Sister Coombs has agreed to make a cake.  (She is one of the cutest senior missionaries ever!  She and her husband are serving in Cove as Military Relations.)
We ask our Ward Mission Leader who is going to fill the font and where are the baptism clothes.  He doesn't know, and he doesn't have a key to the font, neither to do we.  We call our district leader and our branch president, nobody has a key to the font.
We are inviting everybody we can think of to come to the baptism.  No one can.  We are pretty sure that there are going to be more non-members than members at the baptism.
We call up the English missionaries serving in Cove.  They call their bishop and borrow his keys.  They drop them off Saturday morning.
The Beehive gets in a car-crash.  She's fine, but they can't drive the car.  No one can give her a ride to the baptism.  We ask another missionary to say the closing prayer. 
Our Branch President texts us to say that he isn't going to be able to make it to the baptism.
We find the baptismal clothes and it is all too big.  We call our district leader and ask him to bring some smaller clothes from the Killeen font.  He agrees.
We fill up the font, and the water is cold.  With a big stick we manage to unplug the font to let some of the water go down.  And we add more hot water. 
Hiedi and all of her family show up.  We take lots of pictures.  (And we don't let her know about all of the problems with the baptism)
Elder Shields fills out the baptismal record (this should have been done at her interview, but at least it gets done sooner than later).
Our Ward Mission Leader shows up, wearing a red sweater, and he has the programs.  He used google-translate to translate them and there are some funny things in the program. (The baptism was in English).  My favorite is the baptism of Heidi Rodriguez for Elder Shields.  (In Spanish the word for 'by' is 'por' which is also the same thing as a lot of other words like 'for'.)
There are a few members who showed up for the baptism.  We think that there were about 1/3 part members, 1/3 part missionaries, and 1/3 part Hiedi's friends and family at the service.  There were a lot of people there. 
Everybody is sitting in the room waiting for it to start, when someone that we do not know comes up to us, and asks us if there is a member of the branch presidency there.  There wasn't.  He says that we can't have a baptism unless there is a member of the branch presidency to preside.  He says that the Ward Mission Leader can't preside because he isn't wearing a white shirt and he doesn't have permission from the Branch President.
Fortunately, our Ward Mission Leader was wearing a white shirt. He just had a red sweater on top of it.  We call our branch president and ask if our Ward Mission Leader can preside at the baptism.  He says yes.
We were so worried that we were going to have to cancel the baptism, after everyone was already there, because the branch presidency wasn't there.
Fortunately it all worked out!!!
We start the program.  The elder conducting has never been to a baptism before.  There are a whole bunch of mistakes.  The talk by the Holy Ghost is first, then the baptism, and then the talk on Baptism.  No one welcomed her to the ward. 
But it was amazing.  Despite everything, the spirit was strong.  Hiedi is the first in her family to get baptized.  Her mom will be baptized in two weeks, and hopefully her dad soon thereafter.  Taide, Hiedi's dad, felt the spirit very strongly, and he got some good fellowship at the baptism.
Hiedi was beautiful, and the spirit was strong and everything worked out!

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." D & C 123:17
It was a white Christmas and it was wonderful!
Church on Sunday was fabulous as well.  Hiedi got confirmed.  Benjamin received the Melchezidek priesthood.  Lucy got called as secretary in the Relief Society Presidency.  We had a whole row of investigators and non-members.  One of the people who came to church is named Jaime (he is not related to Hiedi at all).  He felt the spirit super strong!  It was awesome!
Feliz Navidad,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

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